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August 14, 2003   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
August 14, 2003

Brian Hardin, director of the Alabama Pork Producers, left, congratulates 2003 Heritage Cooking Contest first-place winner Frankie Davis of Dale County, center, and 2003 Pork Cook-off first-place winner, Annette Sturdivant of Franklin County, right.
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Creative cooks from Dale County and Franklin County took top honors in the Alabama Farmers Federation's Heritage Cooking and Pork Cook-off contests Aug. 7 in Montgomery.

Frankie Davis of Dale County claimed first place in the Heritage Cooking Contest with a zesty Mexican dish that she calls "Fiesta." Mrs. Davis said when she first made the dish her husband wouldn't even try it, but since that time, it has become a family favorite.

The Heritage Cooking Contest is sponsored by the Federation's Women's Division. This year's second-place winner was Mexican Fiesta Soup by Stacey Nestor of Montgomery County, and third-place honors went to Terri Gilley of Cullman County for her Marinated Lemon Pepper Fillet Mignons. The recipes were judged on flavor, creativity and accuracy, and the winning chefs received cash prizes of $150 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place.

Each year the Heritage Cooking Contest features an Alabama-grown commodity. This year's theme was beef. Ashley Davis, director of the Women's Division, said the contest helps promote the use of Alabama agricultural products in delicious and creative ways.

"Agriculture is Alabama's largest industry, and our farmers produce a wide variety of delicious foods. This contest allows us to showcase our state's bounty while recognizing some of our outstanding cooks," Davis said.

In addition to the Heritage Cooking Contest, the Alabama Pork Producers division of the Federation also held its Pork Cook-off, Aug. 7. Annette Sturdivant of Franklin County took top prize in the cook-off with her "Porks Chop and Rice Skillet Meal."

Mrs. Sturdivant said she created the recipe from scratch by combining different flavors she enjoys into one dish.

"I am shocked," said Mrs. Sturdivant after hearing that she had won. "I had just told a friend that I didn't have a chance. I am thrilled. I have never won anything in my life."

Placing second in the Pork Cook-off was an original recipe for a Stuffed Pork Loin Roast by Leeann Vann of St. Clair County. Third-place honors went to Nancy Garrison of Cullman County for Nan's Crock Pot Pork Roast. Winners in the Pork Cook-off received cash prizes of $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $100 for third place.

The winning recipes from both contests follow. For more recipes from Alabama Farmers Federation members, visit the "Country Kitchen" at www.alfafarmers.org. A "Country Kitchen" cookbook featuring more than 1,000 recipes by Federation members is available by mail. Contact Paula Culver at 1-800-392-5705, ext. 4410 for more information.

First Place, Heritage Cooking Contest

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 (5-ounce) packages yellow rice mix
1 pound pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 (10-ounce) bag corn chips, crushed
Chopped onions
Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomatoes

Brown ground beef in a large skillet; drain well. Blend in tomatoes and taco seasoning; simmer 5-10 minutes. Cook rice according to package instructions. In a large bowl, microwave cheese until melted (or melt over low heat in a large saucepan); stir in diced tomatoes and green chilies until blended well. Add browned beef and cooked rice to cheese mixture, blending well. Pour into a greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle crushed corn chips over top of casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until heated through. To serve, arrange chopped onions around edges of dish; mound lettuce inside the ring of onions, then tomatoes in a ring inside the lettuce. Makes 10-12 servings.

--Frankie Davis, Dale County

Second Place, Heritage Cooking Contest

1 pound ground beef
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 cup chopped onion
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 package taco seasoning mix

Brown meat and drain. Mix all ingredients into crockpot and cook for at least 3 hours. Garnish with cheese, green onions and sour cream, if desired. Goes great with tortilla chips or corn chips.

--Stacey Nestor, Montgomery County

Third Place, Heritage Cooking Contest

4-6 (1-inch) filet mignon steaks
1 cup Moore's Marinade (hickory flavor)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon pepper

Combine marinade, lemon juice, butter and pepper. Pour over steaks. Let stand 3-4 hours at room temperature, turning steaks several times. Or marinate overnight in refrigerator. Grill steaks on red-hot grill to the degree of doneness you prefer. For medium steaks grill 6 minutes then turn and grill 4 more minutes.

--Terri Gilley, Cullman County

First Place, Pork Cook-off

4 -- 5 (1/2-inch thick) pork chops
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup of rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large can of tomatoes
1 cup of mild salsa
1 cup of shredded mild Cheddar cheese
Green pepper rings

In a heavy skillet, brown pork chops in oil. Drain. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chops. Add rice and onion. Pour tomatoes and salsa over meat. Cook on low for 30-35 minutes until rice and meat are tender. Arrange in 8- x 10-inch casserole. Top with shredded cheese; place under broiler until cheese melts. Garnish with pepper rings. Makes 4 servings.

--Annette Sturdivant, Franklin County

Second Place, Pork Cook-off

1 (3- to 4-pound) pork loin roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups canned sweet potatoes
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups crushed pineapple, drained and divided
Lemon balm, cherries and pineapple

Butterfly roast and pound both sides with a meat hammer. Sprinkle with salt. Mash sweet potatoes with 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread evenly on one side of roast. Spread 1 cup pineapple on top of sweet potato mixture. Fold top portion of roast over and secure with toothpicks. Wrap in foil and place in 7- x 9-inch glass baking dish. Cook in 375-degree oven until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Mix together remaining pineapple and brown sugar and spread over roast. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Remove from foil and garnish as desired. Salt may be omitted, if desired. Makes 8-10 servings.

--Leeann Vann, St. Clair County

Third Place, Pork Cook-off

1 (3-pound) pork roast
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cans water
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups instant rice

Combine canned soups, water and onion soup mix. Stir and pour mixture into crockpot. Place roast on top of mixture; cook on high setting about 4 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender. Add rice; cook on low setting about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until rice is done. Makes 6-8 servings.

--Nancy Garrison, Cullman County

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